If you have been living in fear of getting a cavity filled and hearing the dreaded drill, you may be in luck. Air abrasion is now being used in some situations to remove decay without the use of a drill. This tool works like a sandblaster, blowing a powerful stream of air including tiny particles of aluminum oxide out of the tip onto the tooth in order to blast away the decay.
Air abrasion is most often used in preparing the teeth for white fillings, but there are other uses, as well. Air abrasion can help to repair discolored teeth and cracks, to get teeth ready for bonding procedures, and to prepare the teeth to accept a sealant. It is also beneficial in repairing fractured, worn, or chipped teeth, all while avoiding the dental drill.
Air abrasion can be used on anyone’s teeth, but it is an especially good option for children or anyone else who might be afraid of the vibration and noise of a regular drill. However, certain treatments like crowns, bridges, inlays, and onlays will still require the use of a drill, as air abrasion cannot be used on every dental procedure.
When air abrasion is performed, you might be asked to wear protective glasses, and your dentist will often place a rubber dam in your mouth and around the tooth receiving the treatment. Air abrasion can result in a gritty feeling in your mouth, as the dust particles are often left over. These are harmless and can easily be rinsed from your mouth, but to avoid the potential buildup of dust, your dentist will likely rinse your mouth and suck it out with a vacuum hose periodically throughout your procedure.
If you have questions about air abrasion and whether it might be right for you, give your dental office a call.